Arsenal survive penalty shootout as Nicklas Bendtner makes comeback
Shane Long sets up West Brom equaliser during normal time
West Brom’s Shane Long challenges Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal during the English League Cup tie at the Hawthorns last night. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
West Brom 1, Arsenal 1 (After extra-time, Arsenal win 4-3 on penalties): Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long made a lively comeback for West Bromwich Albion but his return turned sour as Arsenal won on penalties last night.
Long, who was taken off after 90 minutes, set up Albion’s equaliser for Saido Berahino after Thomas Eisfeld had given Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal triumped in the shoot out after misses from Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalfitano to set up a home tie against Chelsea in the next round.
On a night when Nicklas Bendtner was serenaded by the Arsenal supporters after setting up the opening goal for Eisfeld, Arsene Wenger was left frustrated after his hopes of securing a place in the last 16 in normal time were extinguished.
Berahino, the England Under-21 international who scored a hat-trick against Newport County in the previous round, enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a fine header to haul West Bromwich Albion level.
Until that point it looked as though Bendtner would mark his comeback with the most important pass of the game. The Dane picked out Eisfeld and the 20-year-old, whose only other Arsenal appearance was as a substitute in the 7-5 victory over Reading in this competition last season, finished with aplomb. “Super Nick” reverberated from the away end only to be drowned out in the 71st minute when Berahino headed home.
Loaned out to Sunderland and Juventus in the previous two seasons, Bendtner was granted the most unlikely of recalls through a combination of injuries and the paucity of attacking options. This was the first time Bendtner played for Arsenal since a 2-0 home defeat against Liverpool in August 2011.